State Attorney Larry Basford Thursday asked jurors to “use your good old common sense that got you
this far in life,” at the end of Ruez Hicks’ two-day trial for shooting and killing Robert Gilmore and
Robert Fowler after they caught him burglarizing a home they were restoring last year.
The 6-person jury took less than an hour to agree with the state’s case, finding Hicks guilty as charged of
two counts of second-degree murder and one count each of armed robbery and armed burglary. Circuit
Court Judge Shonna Young Gay set a March 8 sentencing date for the defendant, who is facing up to a
life sentence on each of the murder charges.
“We have been here this week because Robert Keith Gilmore and Robert Shawn Fowler are not. The
reason they are not with us is because that man, the defendant, decided he would go into that house on
Delmar Drive looking for something to take,” Basford told jurors. “And when he was confronted by Mr.
Gilmore and Mr. Fowler, he ended up taking something much more valuable … he ended up taking their
Basford and Assistant State Attorney Jacob Cook presented evidence gathered by Bay County Sheriff’s
Office investigators as well as forensics evidence from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that
included DNA findings and testimony that the defendant’s gun fired the fatal shots.
The break in the case was the discovery by Sheriff’s Office investigators that someone had used a Cash
App card belonging to one of the victims after his death. Also key to the case were statements the
defendant made while being questioned by Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jason Daffin, who along with Inv.
Patrick Crawford drove him to the Sheriff’s Office for a formal interview after he was identified as a
suspect. By the end of those interviews, Hicks admitted he went into the home armed with a pistol
looking for something to steal, that the victims returned home unexpectedly and confronted him, and he
shot and killed them both and ripped a wallet from one victim’s back pocket.
“We finally got to the truth, that he went into that home looking for anything of value, money, tools, in
his own words: anything for some quick cash,” Basford said of the statements the defendant gave Daffin.
“Not only did the Bay County Sheriff’s Office do an excellent job investigating this case, they did an
excellent job in solving it.
“This is not a complicated case, there is no reasonable doubt that the man responsible for (the murders) is
before you,” Basford said. “This is not something Larry Basford and Jacob Cook, the prosecutors, made
up. The evidence in this case, the credible evidence, proves that the defendant is guilty of these four
Fowler owned the home on Delmar drive and Gilmore was working with him to restore it. On Jan. 26,
2021, according to witnesses, evidence presented at trial and the defendant’s statements, the defendant
walked to the home and saw that a light was on inside but no one was present. While the defendant gave
varying accounts, ultimately he admitted that he went inside, his hand holding his .38-caliber revolver, to
steal something he could sell to get some cash.
Gilmore and Fowler returned to the home and found the defendant, who said they told him to drop what
he was carrying, but that he refused, and still had his hand on his gun. He admitted to shooting Gilmore
while they were in the front porch area, but claimed he did not mean to kill him.
Medical Examiner Jay Radtke testified the fatal shot pierced the arteries and veins at the top of Gilmore’s
heart and that he likely died within seconds or minutes. A second bullet caused injuries along the front
side of Gilmore’s face.
Fowler, evidence indicated, was further back in the house across a room and a shot fired at him went
through his heart. Radtke said his death would have occurred quickly.
Basford, addressing the jury and the defendant’s claim that he did not intend to kill anyone, noted
Radtke’s testimony about a bullet hole found in the front porch floor that was near Gilmore’s head.
Radtke agreed with Basford that the location of that hole was consistent with someone standing over
Gilmore while he was already down and firing a bullet down at him, grazing his face. Both of the shots
that hit Gilmore were fired from less than 3 feet away, Radtke said.
The victims were not discovered for about four hours, and though they were identified quickly there
wasn’t a clear suspect through the first 48 hours, according to testimony.
Then investigators examining Gilmore’s phone found an alert that Gilmore’s Cash App card had been
declined twice at a nearby store the day after Gilmore was killed. Video from that store showed a suspect
using the card. A still photo was taken from that video and distributed to deputies, and one of them
recognized the man as Hicks, who had been a witness in an unrelated disturbance.
He was picked up within two hours and arrested later that day.
In total, the state called 10 witnesses. The defense rested without calling any witnesses and the defendant
chose not to testify.
Quantavious Burns, who hid the murder weapon at the defendant’s request after news reports surfaced
about the killing, pled guilty earlier this week to Accessory After the Fact to Second Degree Murder and
Thursday was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, with the first 12 months of that being served in the Bay
For more information contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-381-7454.